9 Skin Care Tips for Rosacea

From the WebMD Archives

When you have rosacea, you need to take special care of your skin. People with rosacea have skin that is easily irritated by cleansers, creams, and makeup. Using the right products can help keep you looking and feeling your best.

Try these nine helpful skin-care tips.

1. Learn Your Triggers

Each person with rosacea has different triggers, or things that make their rosacea worse. This can include some ingredients in skin care products, such as cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup.

For many people with rosacea, learning which skin products work involves trial and error.

"I recommend trying a new product on a small area of skin for a few weeks first," says Elizabeth S. Martin, MD. She is a dermatologist in private practice in Hoover, AL. "You want to make sure it doesn’t cause redness, burning, or stinging. If a product irritates your skin, don’t use it."

2. Avoid Products That Dry Skin

Check out labels on skin care products, and watch out for ingredients that can dry out your skin. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Witch hazel
  • Menthol
  • Camphor
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Fragrances
  • Propylene glycol

3. Keep It Simple

In general, look for products with mild ingredients and no added fragrance. The more ingredients in a product, the more likely it will irritate your skin. If you’re not sure about a product, ask to try a sample. Or check with your dermatologist.

"I have my patients bring in all the skin products they use, so we can go over which ones to avoid," says Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD. He's a clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

4. Use Sunscreen Every Day

Sunlight on the skin is a trigger for many people with rosacea. Using sunscreen every day can help, but many ingredients in it can irritate the skin. This means you have to be smart about which sunscreen you use.

Desai suggests using sunscreen with a physical blocker, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, instead of a sunscreen that has a chemical blocker. "Chemical blockers work fine, but they can irritate the skin," Desai says.

Another tip -- look for a sunscreen with niacinamide. "It can help reduce redness in the face," he says.

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5. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

A good moisturizer can help ease redness and irritation. Choosing the right kind is key.

"A barrier repair cream, such as one that contains ceramides, can help restore the skin," Martin says. Ceramides are proteins found in the fat layer of the skin that help prevent water loss.

Desai also recommends you choose creams over lotions. Lotions often have alcohol-based liquids that can dry your skin.

6. Use Warm Water

When taking a shower or washing your face, use warm water instead of hot. Hot water can dry out your skin, and heat is a common trigger for people with rosacea.

7. Use a Gentle Touch

Use your fingertips when washing your skin or applying creams or makeup -- and be gentle. Rubbing or scrubbing your skin will cause more redness and irritation. Washcloths and sponges can also bother your skin.

After washing, use a soft cotton towel to pat your skin slightly dry. Let you skin air dry fully before putting on any medicine, creams, or makeup. This helps prevent stinging or burning.

8. Choose Makeup Carefully

Makeup can help hide signs of rosacea. But many types of makeup can leave your skin dry and irritated.

"Mineral-based makeup is a good choice for people with rosacea," Martin says. "It doesn’t contain preservatives or other additives that can irritate the skin."

A foundation that has silicone will help protect your skin. And some makeup comes tinted with a green or yellow base to help hide redness. As with other skin care products, look for makeup with just a few simple ingredients.

9. Take Care of All Your Skin

Although rosacea usually only affects the face, don’t ignore the rest of your skin. People with rosacea may also have sensitive skin on other parts of the body.

"I recommend using the same gentle, neutral products on all areas of the body," Desai says.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on February 06, 2014

Sources

SOURCES:

Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD, clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; president and medical director of Innovative Dermatology in Plano, Texas.

Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology; dermatologist in private practice in Hoover, Alabama.

National Rosacea Society: "Facial Cleansing for Rosacea," "Sun Protection and Moisturizer."

RosaceaNet: "Gentle Skin Care Helps Control Rosacea."

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